Happiest Juneteenth everyone!
Today marks 155 years since Major General Gordan Granger of the Union army reached Galveston, Texas, bringing word of the end of slavery to the last Confederate state. Since then the day has been celebrated as Freedom Day, Cel-liberation Day, Jubilee Day and arguably the most popular, Juneteenth. Traditionally Juneteenth is celebrated with story telling, picnics, barbecues and ‘red soda water’, a classic Texas treat. So you may be wondering the history that led to an event in Texas being celebrated here in Virginia more than a century later…
After Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, liberating slaves in the US, the news moved slowly through the southern states (when it was allowed to move at all – many slave owners did everything they could to suppress word of emancipation, some until the harvest was done and some indefinitely). This means that the African-American population in the farthest flung Confederate state, Texas, remained enslaved long after the United States’ government recognized their freedom . On June 19th, 1865, more than 2 years after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, General Granger not only brought the news with him, but 2,000 Union soldiers to enforce it.
In recent decades cities across the US have marked the occasion with parades, festivals, local music and celebrations of Black culture. Just this week in Virginia, Juneteenth has been declared a paid state holiday! While we are still waiting for Juneteenth to be recognized at the national level, 47 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or observance.
As our celebration of Juneteenth, we’d like to shout out as many Black-owned businesses as possible! We’ve included links to a number of sources that keep frequently updated information on great local businesses. We’ve also included the link for a Go Fund Me page benefiting the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience and a link for the 1 Million Miles for Justice virtual race, where you can start your own team or join the team of local trainer StrongHardt RVA.
Thank you for helping us SHOW OUR LOVE for Black lives by supporting Black-owned businesses in your community!